Monday, 17 February 2014


With the visual inspection of the boiler complete, a steam test is required. Since the original boiler chimney had to be removed due to a large amount of corrosion, the temporary aluminium one (a sheet rolled, pop riveted and slid down the inside of the cast chimney base) lasted a few steamings but eventually got damaged in the wind. So this Sunday saw temporary chimney number two erected. Made from a peice of donated 600mm spiral wound ducting, the original chimney flanges have been bolted on and the whole thing proped up. Let's hope that we don't see anymore of these storms! It actually looks quite good and might get a paint of black to help it blend in. Temporary at Westonzoyland normally means years! Report to come later on how it does in its test run.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Boiler Inspection

On Monday the Marshall Boiler received her annual inspection. This requires it to be drained down, all the mud holes and inspection plates to be removed as well as all the firebars and fusible plugs from the firebox. A good wash out is done to get rid of any sludge from the bottom. 

Having climbed into the firebox the inspector taps every stay with a hammer to hear if any have cracked. He looks in all the opened holes to check the general condition of stays, fire tubes and other structural components. After a quick cup of tea he gives it the all clear with only a couple of minor items to sort before the next test. Now that's done everything has to be put back together with new seals and tested for leaks. It will then be fired up for a steam test where the safety valves will be checked to ensure they blow off at the required pressure (50psi) and that the gauge is reading correctly, water sight gauges work etc. 

Monday, 10 February 2014

Winter Programme Update

With the rain still falling and the water level rising across large areas of the Somerset Levels our volunteers are still progressing with the projects in hand.

Having had a scrap skip delivered to the museum, this has now been filled to the brim and taken away. As part of the clear up operation some unused equipment was sold off, including two large Broom and Wade compressors. All these funds will be reinvested in new equipment. Our ride on lawn mower requires a new cutting deck, some areas of fencing need replacing and we have purchased a new compressor to start the Crossley Diesel engine. This compressor is single phase and has a max working pressure of 360psi. We only require 250 but means we won't be running it to its limit. All that is required now is to wire it in, get our 600psi tank tested and installed. After nearly two years out of action it should be seen running again in time for April.

With the high winds experienced again over the last week. A large area of brittle trees had fallen over so these have been cut down and turned into logs for the wood burner. Once the ground drys up further winter trimming will be progressed to get the place tidied up before the new season starts.

In order to begin steaming again the boiler needs its annual inspection and certification so the boiler was stripped down and washed out, inspection is imminent. Once visually inspected, it all gets put back together and a steam test is carried out in order to prove safety valve settings etc.

Whilst all this activity was happening, on the opposite side of the engine rhyne the Environment Agency and a private pump hire company were busy setting up two large diesel pumps. These are rated at 60 tonnes per minute each. Why they are putting them in is a 500 page book in itself so I won't go into it!